Friday, 6 June 2014


On Wednesday we decided we'd had enough of the Upper Thames and started moving down-stream again. We moored on the meadow at Bablock Hythe and I placed an order with Ocado for delivery on Thursday morning. I haven't used Ocado before but, as they had a good offer for new customers, I thought I'd give them a try and stock up on beer and wine.  The delivery arrived on time and the two drivers carried the shopping to the boat for us which was a nice touch. The only down-side was that I thought their website was rather complicated and not very user friendly, compared to Asda or Tesco.

Yesterday was another lovely day and we stopped for lunch on the visitor mooring above King's Lock. If you want to stay overnight there is a charge of £8.75. No thanks.

Instead, we moored at Godstow on perfectly good free moorings.

This beautiful river launch was moored opposite. It looked decidedly neglected but with a bit of TLC, especially to the timberwork,  it would be gorgeous.

We'd shared King's Lock with a single-hander in a narrowboat who didn't have a clue. To go through the locks on the Thames you need long ropes front and aft to rope up to the bollards and you also have to switch your engine off. He didn't have any long ropes and wouldn't stop talking to us for long enough to listen to directions from the lock-keeper who wasn't impressed at all.

He decided he was going to moor up behind us but being a total numpty he didn't slow down enough and stopped his boat by ramming us in the stern. When he left this morning he rammed a fibre-glass boat on the opposite bank!

We didn't want to get to know him so we went to The Trout Inn instead of stopping to chat.

The footbridge is extremely rickety and is closed to the public.

It's a nice pub with good beer but the food seemed a bit pricey and we didn't bother eating there. The resident peacock watched everyone from it's perch on the roof and we heard it's call back on the boat.

We didn't want to travel with the numpty this morning so we waited till he'd been gone for a while before setting off. While we were waiting, this pair of Greylag geese came visiting, complete with their adopted mallard duckling. They were taking good care of all 3 chicks and we later saw them further down the river sunning themselves on the bank, still with the duckling.

There's plenty of bird-life along this stretch and we've seen a couple of Kingfishers which were noticeable by their absence on the upper reaches. This heron could have been stuffed for all I know, it never moved a muscle or feather when we went past.

 How about this for a patio? It's attached to one of the houses near Folly Bridge.

Unfortunately the numpty caught up with us at Osney Lock. He'd taken the wrong turn and ended up on the Oxford Canal - he doesn't seem to have any map books - so although he'd set off a good hour before us he arrived just behind us at the lock. Again he didn't have long ropes connected and again he wouldn't listen to the lock-keeper who wouldn't start emptying the lock until he'd got himself sorted out. Not only does he not have long ropes connected but he doesn't have his anchor connected either. It's loose on the roof so I hope he never needs to use it!

These are the University boat clubs which line the river out of Oxford. There was no-one about today but I expect the river will be busy with rowers over the weekend.

We pulled over for a very early lunch to give our "friend" time to get through the next couple of locks without us - he was in a rush to get to Abingdon. I'm afraid I was losing patience with him and would probably have told him so if we'd had to share any more locks with him.

This is Ifley Lock. The gardens are spectacular and my photos don't do them justice. If the EA get rid of the lock-keepers will they pay gardeners instead or just let the gardens go to rack & ruin?


How about this for a "Des Res"

complete with it's own boat

We arrived at Sandford Lock during the lock-keepers lunch break but everything is electrically operated so it wasn't any problem.

 It's the biggest, deepest lock we've come across so far. You could have easily got 3 narrowboats  across it

again, the gardens are lovely and very well tended

It's a bit of bad planning on our part to be here on a Friday. The bacon butties sound good so I've made a note for future visits.

another "Des Res"

 This dredger was working just above Abingdon Lock

The Abingdon lock-keeper was very chatty and told us how quiet the river is this year. He reckons that there are hardly any cruisers moving about and if it weren't for the narrowboats he'd have nothing to do.  We originally wanted to moor through the bridge on the town moorings, but they were full so we turned round and moored back on the meadow with 3 very large (& expensive) cruisers and a couple of other narrowboats.
You can see from the lovely blue sky what the weather's been like. It's been a Factor 50 day but unfortunately tomorrow's forecast is for storms. I hope they're wrong.

As soon as we moored up we had visitors.  You can just see the fourth cygnet hitching a ride.

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